Conn. Road Redesign Reduces Accidents, Saves Lives

November 9, 2004

A redesigned Merritt Parkway in Connecticut is safer to drive these days.

Crashes and fatalities along a stretch through Greenwich have dropped over the past five years, according to the state Department of Transportation. The redesign has improved safety, especially during rainy weather.

Accidents on the parkway in Greenwich have fallen from a high of 124 in 1999 to 67 in 2003. Deaths on the highway in Greenwich declined from four in 1999 to none last year.

Meanwhile, accidents during dry weather did not decline, totaling 175 in 1999, 149 in 2001 and rising to 184 in 2003.

The changes include new gutter strips and angling the road surface to prevent water from pooling, as well as improved traction from a new asphalt surface. A steel-reinforced wooden guide-rail system along a seven-mile stretch in Greenwich makes it harder to crash through. Several outcroppings of rocks have been removed.

“In areas where there were rock outcroppings there are guide rails which prevent people from crashing,” District Engineer Paul Breen said.

DOT officials say it will take several years to evaluate the full safety improvement.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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